A few weeks after he beat Chinese legend Lin Dan in the final of the China Open in 2014, Kidambi Srikanth raised hopes of a men’s badminton revolution in India. A couple of victories later he faded into oblivion. Last year he literally did nothing and spent most of the time toiling with injuries.
Even as many dismissed his performance as flash in the pan, the people who know him did not lose hope. They had immense faith in Srikanth’s extraordinary talent, his natural strokes, his strong will to excel and are confident that once his injuries heal he will become a world beater.Here are 7 facts about him
1He grew up in a humble household. His father is a farmer and mother a housewife
Hailing from an agricultural family, with land given out on lease for tilling, the Kidambi family played a part in sowing the seeds of success for Indian badminton instead.
2He won gold at the 2016 South Asian games in Guwahati
At the 2016 South Asian Games, he won two gold medals, in men’s team and men’s singles, defeating Prannoy Kumar in the singles final. At the 2016 Badminton Asia Team Championship, although his team lost in the semifinal, he remained undefeated.
3Srikanth was ranked 240 in 2012. And by May 2013, he jumped to 13. What an awesome jump!
The 24-year-old had last reached the top ten in October 2016, a couple months after he reached the quarterfinals at the Rio Olympics. His career-high ranking remains No 3, which was achieved in June 2015.
4His elder brother Nanda Gopal is also a badminton player
With a star brother to back Nandagopal very often, either at the Pullela Gopichand Academy or tournaments, badminton must be a family topic for these shuttlers. However, Nandagopal said, “We are always busy at the academy because his (Srikanth’s) practice timings and mine are totally different, his events and tournaments are different than mine. So, we hardly have any discussion on badminton.”
5In the 2014 China Open, he beat his own idol Lin Dan in the summit showdown
All that changed at the China Open, in November 2014 when he upset Lin Dan to claim his and India’s maiden men’s Super Series singles title. “I had grown up thinking of Lin Dan as my idol,” Srikanth recalls. “So to win my first Super Series title by beating him in China was great feeling. I don’t think I will ever have a victory like the one at the China Open,” he said. There were several moments that came close however.
6Everyone came to know about Srikanth Kidambi after he beat Parupalli Kashyap in the 2013 All India Senior National Championships
Kidambi beat reigning champion and Olympian Parupalli Kashyap in the All India Senior National Championships in Delhi to claim his first senior national title.